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And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

May 5, 2010, 5:42 AM EDT

Nick Blackburn pitches.jpgTwins 4, Tigers 3: Nick Blackburn gave up 11 hits in a complete game. This had me thinking about the concept of “scattering” hits last night. I mean, I wanted to say that Blackburn scattered 11 hits over nine innings, but 11 seemed like too many. I was thinking that scattering applies to eight
hits max, and after that you’re just getting out of jams all night.

But I wasn’t entirely sure, so I asked two extremely smart baseball people: ESPN’s Rob Neyer and Sam Miller of the Orange County Register.  They both basically gave me the same answer: it’s not the hits that determines whether you scattered them, it’s the runs.  Give up less than four runs and you can scatter 20 hits if you want to.

I still can’t say I’m entirely comfortable with this — 11 hits seems like a lot to scatter, and I don’t know that anything more than a 1:1 innings-to-runs ratio can truly be called scattering — but at some point you just have to defer to authority on these things.

Nationals 6, Braves 3: OK, deep breaths. I had let Livan Hernandez off my sh– list because the 1997 NLCS was a long time ago. I had finally moved on and vowed to not let that man aggravate me anymore. I even wrote an ATH entry a week ago wishing for nothing but the best for him as he puts together an improbably good season. Yet I find myself aggravated as all hell that his slow pitches and crappy control still manage to beat the Braves after all these years. More deep breaths.  Ahhh. OK, there. I’m better now. Congratulations on another successful outing, Mr. Hernandez. Kudos on a job well done. .

Diamondbacks 1, Astros 0:  That’s the thing about Houston. They’re so versatile! They lose the close ones, they lose the blowouts, they lose on the road, they lose at home. They can do it all!

Mets 5, Reds 4: John Maine has allowed just seven earned runs in his last four starts, which is cool.  Also cool was Rod Barajas’ tiebreaking homer in the ninth. Well, at least if you’re not a Reds fan it was cool. For Reds fans it rather sucked, I suppose.

Giants 9, Marlins 6: Tim Lincecum strikes out 13, but gets a no-decsion as his bullpen can’t hold the lead for his second straight start. Overall the Giants struck out 20 Marlins.

Phillies 2, Cardinals 1: Before last night’s game, Cardinals manager and fellow attorney Tony La Russa said, when asked about the taser incident, that “I just think it’s
acceptable, because it’s a good deterrent.”  I can’t find any comment from him this morning about how damn good a deterrent it was based on the fact that someone ran out onto the field the very next night.  Oh well.  Jackass fans aside, Hamels and Lidge looked like it was 2008 all over again. So Philadelphia has that going for them. Which is nice.

Royals 7, White Sox 2: Zack Greinke should really start following Luke Hochevar around and ask him what he does to get the Royals’ offense to score all those runs for him.

Red Sox 5, Angels 1: Nice win, blah, blah, blah, but it’s time to cut Papi, right?  I mean, Mike Lowell went 4 for 4 with 4 RBI on Monday, and then last night Ortiz goes 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and hit into two double
plays, the second of which came in the eighth with the bases loaded, nobody
out, and the score tied.  This is a fireable offense, right?

Pirates 3, Cubs 2: I can’t recall a team that wins practically all of their close games yet gets the snot kicked out of them in all of their losses quite like the 2010 Pirates do.  Fifth homer in four games for Alfonso Soriano. Two-run jack for Ryan Church despite suffering from the stomach flu. I’m never completely sure what they mean when they say “stomach flu,” but I always assume it’s one of those things you get where you don’t even want to walk down the stairs too fast lest you ruin your trousers. How you hit a ball 380 feet or whatever it was with that preying on your bowels I have no idea, but that’s why Ryan Church is a ballplayer and I wear my pajamas all day.

Yankees 4, Orioles 1: A.J. Burnett could get used to pitching against the Orioles. Last Thursday he dominated them and last night he takes care of the O’s business once again (7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 8K). And how about Francisco Cervelli? The catcher hits his first career triple (thanks to an Adam Jones dive that came up short) and makes a nice catch on a foul pop to end the fourth.

Blue Jays 8, Indians 5: Nine walks by Indians pitchers.  Know what? I watched Josh Tomlin pitch for the Columbus Clippers on Monday night and he looked better than most of what Cleveland has been throwing out there each night. Call him up. Can’t hurt.

Brewers 11, Dodgers 6: Clayton Kershaw turns in his worst performance ever (1.1 IP, 5H, 7 ER, 2BB, 2 HBP). The only highlight for Dodgers fans was a knuckleballer turning in four solid innings of mopup duty. Prince Fielder and Gregg Zaun each homered in the nine-run second inning. Zaun finished a triple short of the cycle. Hey, we can’t all be as fast as Francisco Cervelli.

Padres 3, Rockies 2: Chase Headley singled in a run in the bottom of the ninth after the Rockies walked Adrian Gonzalez to get to him. Maybe the lesson here is that intentional walks suck, but I’d probably have walked AG to get to Headley too. What I would have tried not to do was to walk leadoff hitter Lance Zadawzki before Gonzalez which, after a sacrifice, allowed the winning run to reach second.

Athletics 7, Rangers 6: Ryan Sweeney was 3 for 5 with a homer and 5 RBI for the A’s. Vlad Guerrero hit a grand slam and had five RBI for the Rangers. Scott Feldman got lit up early, though, and when you spot the other guys five runs, you don’t make life easy on yourself.

Rays 5, Mariners 2: James Shields allowed only two runs on eight hits and struck out 10. Four errors for the Mariners, who are supposed to be pretty good on defense. On offense the Mariners looked like they weren’t even trying. Take the seventh inning. The M’s, having no luck against Shields, figure to have one chance, and that’s to get him out of the game and into the Rays’ bullpen.  Take some pitches then, right? Work the count?  Nope: they go down on four pitches. Four. Jose Lopez takes a strike and then he, Casey Kotchman and Jack Wilson swing at the next three pitches for two groundouts and a fly out.  Mercy.

  1. Moses Green - May 5, 2010 at 6:09 AM

    Big hitter, the Lama.

  2. Jonas - May 5, 2010 at 6:44 AM

    When you consider that Blackburn gave up four of those hits in one inning, I think it becomes much easier to say that he “scattered” the rest of the hits.

  3. Wouter - May 5, 2010 at 6:55 AM

    Remember how the MSM used to make fun of sabermetrics for saying “clutch” didn’t exist (at least not at the level the media thinks it does), and how they pointed to Big Papi as “proof”? Yeah, those were good times.

  4. enough already - May 5, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    Poor Livo gets no respect. I was sad when the Mets let him go last year. With all the stuff happening to the team, it was nice to have a guy who didn’t look like he was going to cry every time he talked to the media (other than Francoeur, that is.) But then he had make some passing comments on his way out the door. I’ve never been a fan of the guy who can’t keep his mouth shut. But after all this, when the NY media slammed the Mets for not being able to hit him earlier in the season, was there no-one else who said “wait a minute, this guy can still pitch a pretty good game from time to time. Can’t we just give him his due?” I’m just sayin’.

  5. Stephen Jay - May 5, 2010 at 8:16 AM

    No mention of the walkoff HR in Philly?

  6. Craig Calcaterra - May 5, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    There’s a post dedicated to the game coming up in a few minutes.

  7. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 5, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    How you hit a ball 380 feet or whatever it was with that preying on your bowels I have no idea, but that’s why Ryan Church is a ballplayer and I wear my pajamas all day.

    Awesome, purely awesome. Now if we could only somehow convince [bribe?] you to write ATH for the weeekends :)

  8. SouthofHeaven - May 5, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Three things the Yankees need to do:
    1). Make Cirvelli their new catcher.
    2). Make Jorge their DH.
    3). Trade Johnson to another team. Not for money, but total consciousness.
    Also, The Pirates strike again! Said it before, but these guys are a Major League sequel waiting to happen.

  9. The Common Man - May 5, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    I tend to agree with Rob and Sam on this one, but if you’re dissatisfied with the “scattered” terminology, how about “he was dodging bullets all night”?
    Rod Barajas should go back to where he came from, but then he probably will, since the Mets are probably due for a West Coast swing soon.
    reCaptcha: “list massacres”
    I do what I’m told. Wounded Knee, My Lai, Little Big Horn, St. Valentine’s Day, Jamestown, Boston, Kent State. There are others.

  10. enough already - May 5, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    Ok, Eichman, we’ll see how well that line goes over at the tribunal.

  11. tom pajewski - May 5, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    I agree with south of heaven. I could live with Jorge being the evryday DH and Cervelli being the full time catcher. Jorge is one of my fav Yankees but he is a little too old for catching. His bat is still awesome. As for Nick Johnson he belongs with Javier Vazquez as someon who can’t handle the pressure cooker in the Bronx. They had their second chance and need to move on. Better men than them have failed in pinstripes. Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown to name a few.

  12. Scott - May 5, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    “Stomach flu” and “flu-like symptoms” mean a player is hungover.

  13. SouthofHeaven - May 5, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Jorge could have 5 productive years as a DH, or be Jason Varitek (in terms of defense) in 2. It’s Girardi’s choice. He’s a former catcher, he knows how it goes with that position.

  14. union - May 5, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    Blackburn was in complete control the entire game so I would definitely say he was scattering hits. Four came in one inning with 3 of those being perfectly placed ground balls and he really didn’t find himself in trouble again until the 9th when after giving up the homer Delmon dropped the ball in the outfield (they called it a double, but it bounced off the palm of his glove). I know Craig is probably still bitter, but maybe he can remove those stained 1991 glasses and actually finally see what everyone else in America saw before this week, the Twins are just better.

  15. whitty - May 5, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    Nick Johnson isn’t failing. The most important thing a batter can do is avoid making outs. Johnson’s OBP is .363. He’s getting on base.
    Right now Johnson has been extremely unlucky on balls in play. His BABIP is below .200. When that starts to move back toward his career norm of .308 (and it will move in that direction over time, it always does), the batting average will go up along with it.
    Vazquez, on the other hand, needs to fix his delivery now. As good as the Yankees have been, they can’t throw away 20 percent of their starts. The rest of the rotation isn’t going to pitch to an ~2.1 ERA forever.
    CAPTCHA: also demoted — which isn’t going to happen to Vazquez, given his salary, but so far he’s looked like CMW circa 2009.

  16. Old Gator - May 5, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    My short lawyer treated me to a game of Go Feesh last night, and I definitely got his money’s worth. Twelve innings of classic Feesh futility, complete with offensive pyrotechnics from Hanley Ramirez and Dan “let me play my ass off and get out of this poverty pocket by the July trading deadline” Uggla, and pregame tension generated by an interview with Hanley wherein he was asked if he was worried about facing the Tokemeister and replied, “He should be worried about facing me.” He must have visited his local Santera and had that hideous “342” (the Macondo variation of ‘666’ if parsed in base 8 using a Fibonacci sequence) amulet blessed before the game. Read on if you dare….
    Now here’s the real story of the Feesh/Brobdingnagians game: the Happy Hempster actually earned himself his no-decision, since by the time he left after 5 the Feesh had tied it already when Hanley, true to the haruspices, deposited the Happy Hempster’s one bad pitch of the night among the ghosts of fans passed clustered in the left-center mezzanine (yeah, they’re there, around forty thousand of them, even under the blue tarp [ectoplasm lets you do that] – I see dead as well as hypothetical people, but you need special glasses to make them out) just above the clot of advertising where the out-of-town scoreboard had recently been sacrificed to Scrooge McLoria’s money bin. On the positive side, Uggy crushed a beachball from Romo good for three runs and a one-run lead in the eighth, just long enough for Leo Nunez to scamper in from the boolpen and cough up a hashbrown to the recently crippled Aaron Rowland and set up Burke Badenhop’s twelfth-inning meltdown. Chalk up another one for McLoria’s bargain basement Farenheit 451 Squad.
    His teammates fanned the aforementioned 13 times, and Jorge Cantu, who a week and a half ago was being presented as Joltin’ Jorge, was busy separating oxygen from nitrogen to the tune of four times, one looking. I had to squint a couple of times to be certain that McLoria hadn’t directed Larry Beinfest to pull the trigger on a pregame trade for Big Papi and lots of cash.
    The real story of last night’s fiasco, though, was the dancing – I hadn’t seen the Mermaids perform in over a year, long enough, one would think, to recruit a competent choreographer, but apparently the same one is still working even after planning Britney Spears’ legendary cellulite soiree at the MTV Video Music Awards. They’ve recruited a couple of new dancers, one of whose thighs looked like they could scissors-crush your skull at a tender moment. They also found one who looks like Penelope Cruz but whose dancing rivaled the acting of her doppleganger in All the Pretty Horses.
    Notwithstanding all that worst footwork was supplied by the Feesh infield. Hanley giveth, Hanley taketh away. The yaghe he snorted at his Santera’s house must not quite have worn off by gametime because he strolled after a couple of grounders that wouldn’t have gotten by a Special Olympics shortstop and seemed constitutionally incapable of bending over far enough to pick up an upright bowling pin. There was also a terrific “who’s on second” routine as a Brobdingnagian strolled to second base while Hanley was playing short left and Uggy was communing with flying saucers in short right. Jorge “Air Around the Clock” Cantu let a ball get through him and down the line to set up an unearned run and crash Anibal Sanchez’ otherwise spiffy performance last night. Oner of the Feesh infielders also fell on his ass lunging the wrong way for a dribbler – but they were all so out of position last night that I can’t remember who it was. Another great moment in Diamond Ballet – Dan Uggla diving for a ball that was already behind him because set-up arsonist Leroux stuck his glove up and deflected it.
    Altogether, a fun night out at Joeprodolsharklife Stadium. It was the first time I’d gotten to see the Kannabis Kid in person and I wasn’t disappointed. Best of all, I think we missed the playing of “The Feesh Will Soar” by about three minutes. Lethargy has its privileges.

  17. Young Gopher - May 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Does anyone understand this? Is this a review of a baseball game, or a societal references contest? Craig, I think your job is safe.

  18. YankeesfanLen - May 5, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    This whole blog is a societal reference contest, otherwise we’d be writing in to the Peoria Picayunne Examiner with our comments about the guy across the street being a Cardinals fan.
    Leave Old Gator alone, he basking in the glory of not being tased while re-creating his Michigan State Straker of the Semester Championship from spring of ’74 at Joeprodolsharklife stadium, where they have proportionate security to fans: none.

  19. Old Gator - May 5, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    I’ve been trying to prevail upon Craig to do that for a few days now. He has very valid domestic, psychological and cardiovascular and economic excuses for not doing it…yet. I had suggested to him that an alternative might be to just put up a blog before he goes to bed on Friday night listing the upcoming games and inviting our commentary. You know, viewer involvement. At least that way we’d have a venue to reflect upon the Shabbos doings and Craig could have left the stove warm for us.
    But despite my prodigious hortatory skills I can’t do it myself. As Cardinal Woolsey explained to Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, in addition to diplomacy there is pressure….
    reCaptcha: the sanskrit. Goody, four years of studying it didn’t bring enlightenment nearly as well as one night with my yoga instructor, but at least it didn’t go for nothing.

  20. APBA Guy - May 5, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Interestingly, local boy Scott Feldman (Burlingame, CA) had only himself to blame for last night’s difficulties. The CSN CA broadcast team put together a montage of Feldman’s pitch location during his bad innings: a consistent thread whereupon a variety of pitch types all end up exactly centered over the plate. Even the A’s can hit that kind of pitching, especially when it’s coming in at 88-90 mph.
    But the interesting part is that Feldman stayed in the game through 7 innings and gave up nothing from the 5-7th. He kept throwing his off speed stuff but nothing ended up on a tee. The Rangers only made it close because Geren got Mazzarro after 3 and the A’s bullpen is very good, only giving up 1 over the next 6 IP. Another inning of Mazzarro and the Rangers would have won.
    Great example of why any team can win the AL West this year. In the top of the 9th, behind 7-6, Matt Treanor singles to lead off. Wash pinch runs Gentry for him. The next batter, Julio Borbon, fakes a bunt while Gentry steals 2nd (very close play at 2nd). You have to get Gentry to third, right? What does Borbon do? Swings at the next pitch from Bailey and flies out shallow and weak, no advance. Gentry ends up stranded.
    After Borbon comes back to the dugout Wash summons him for an immediate ear bending. No privacy of the managers office, no. Public chastisement. Not a full on R. Lee Ermey chew out, but more like a Jason Isaacs admonishment from Black Hawk Down.

  21. Moses Green - May 5, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    Thanks for the post – at least you didn’t have to spend any money there. The relief and defense are … decidedly low budget – that’s for sure.

  22. Old Gator - May 5, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    De nada, as we say down here south of the border. I did spend ten bucks to park but Scrooge and the Chihuahua routinely pewl that they don’t get any of the parking fees.
    Replying to YankeesfanLen: but why bother with the Peoria Picayune when you could be reading The Dacron Republican-Democrat:

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